Buy Filipino, by Filipino
SUPREMO - Tim Yap () - June 13, 2009 - 12:00am

Is it just a trend or are we finally getting our act together?

For some, it had to take years of being away from home until it hit them. For others, it was already inherent — the flames of Pinoy pride just had to be fueled. The efforts of those who came before us had finally bore fruit. Look around you — from retail stores to galleries, from department stores to the streets — finally, the Filipino is buying Filipino.

I guess this is one good turn that globalization has brought out within our race. Somehow, human nature dictates that as the world grew to be one big home, we still had to find refuge in our own bedroom. With the rise of globalization, tribalism became more comfortable, and so pride of place (in the same way that the tribes of yore would paint their faces and their bodies to achieve identity) became the name of the game.

Team Manila, Rhett Eala’s C2 Collezione, the Bench Ninoy campaigns, and (the late) Francis M are some of the early adaptors of this trend, if you want to call it that. I can still remember a few years back, when I did the Super Pilipinas Limited Edition watches collaboration with ODM and Team Manila, that we were not sure of how people would accept a watch that advocates how proud they are of being Pinoy. It got sold out. The Swatch Centennial watches designed by artist Jaime Zobel with a stylized rendition of the Philippine flag is now a much-sought-after collector’s item.

You put a supermodel on the cover of a magazine and paint her body with the Philippine flag, and people react. A rumor on the web surfaces, saying some designer, or some Hollywood star or some TV show said something which lambasts this country, and an outrage catches fire. You get a singer and he changes some notes of the Philippine national anthem, and people get angry. See, when it comes to the matter of country, we really care.

D’ Original jersey Barong

Some put this care into creativity and come out with their own version of symbolic expression of their love for Pilipinas. At the 1st Philippine Radio Music Awards, I was backstage about to present an award to Parokya Ni Edgar for Best Alternative Band when a compact disc amulet caught my eye. It had the sun figure from our flag on its center. Upon closer inspection, the wearer was donning a jersey barong Tagalog, but worn in hip hop style. This guy’s name is Flava Matikz, a Filipino who grew up in Queens, New York, who is also a DJ, has his own clothing line, and makes what he calls “the original jersey barong.” I immediately bought some and wore it to events the next day.

In the same room, I spotted Kenjhon Serrano, or Ken, the moving spirit behind the now legendary All Stars Pilipinas global champion dance group. I have been an avid supporter of this group ever since they started, because their “mother” All Stars is Lema Diaz, who has been my favorite dance inspiration (and partner from yore and the “yonder” years). Of course, we have seen the All Stars shirt (the one that brought pride to us when they were declared world champions) in its many incarnations. Now, the three stars and a sun have found themselves in many different colors and textures, and are now in hoodies and other fun and funky pieces of clothing and accessory. That night, Ken was asking me for suppliers of soles for shoes. He showed me his prototype, a purple Rizal on a cityscape print sewn on Nike soles that he himself had commissioned.

Later on while doing the shoot, I realized that there is this whole new community of entrepreneurs who operate from this core of love of country at base of their products and creativity. See, at the end of it all, no matter how much we love to complain about this country, it is enlightening to see a new generation of Philippine lovers. Hey, look around you — there is so much to love!

At this Supreme Pilipinas shoot, Flava Matikz, Kenjhon Serrano, and Orwayne De Leon bring out their own stuff, freshly folded from within their backpacks, aside from the latest collection of Rhett Eala for C2, and the Pilipinas limited-edition flip-flops of Havaianas. Orwayne is part of Krumpinoy, another dance group born out of All Stars. They showed me a whole line of clothes and accessories — from Philippines flags to hip hop Rizals to defaced symbols in shirts, shorts, and shades, it was a never-ending feast of new Filipino.

We at Supreme hope you get inspired by them as much as we did. And we know that this situation, trend or no trend, is a good step for us to maybe finally, hopefully, get our act together.

(Follow me at twitter--iamtimyap)

Flava Matikz of QYork

Right now, I’m dependent on: God

The key to independence is: Consistence, persistence, and love.

Being Pinoy in this day and age means: Being who you are, no matter where you’re from (or your upbringing).

I express my being Pinoy by: Being myself, wearing and creating positive Pinoy apparel and music.

I look up to: The man upstars and people with positive energy- no matter what race or religion.

Pinoys can be better by: Spreading love, uniting despite different upbringings and coming together to be one.

Kenjhons of Philippine All Stars

Right now, I’m dependent on: The man up there, I cannot do what I do without him for he is my backbone. One up y’all.

The key to independence is: Celebrating as one for our people and to rise up for the one up above. Pinas pataas!

Being Pinoy in this day and age means: Coming from struggle to success. Of happiness and contentment of being who we are.

I express my being Pinoy by: Giving love not just to the Filipinos but also to the whole world. Through dance and hiphop music, we express one love.

I look up to: My mom who raised me the way I am, especially God who gives me everything I need to live this life to the fullest.

Pinoys can be better by: Believing in our own people, and that we can be just as good as the rest of the world or even better — because in God’s eyes, we are all stars.

Orwayne of Krumpinoy

Right now, I’m dependent on: Ngayon, I’m dependent on my family and friends. They give me support, love and respect. And of course, God!

The key to independence is: Ipag-diwang ito at maki-isa sa mga Pilipino.

Being Pinoy in this day and age means: Being proud to represent myself from different race. We can all eat at the same plate.

I express my being Pinoy by: Tangkilikin ang sariling atin. Suportahan ang mga kapwa Pinoy.

I look up to: God. He is everything.

Pinoys can be better by: Diskarte sa buhay.

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